With its rich colonial background, there's a wide variety of cuisines to choose from when dining in Melaka. That's the good news. The downside is that, while there are a lot of restaurants in the heritage area, many of them cater to the day-trippers from Kuala Lumpur, opening at mid-day only and closing before 5:00 pm. So while you may be spoiled for choice at lunch time, you may be hard pressed to even find a place that's open for dinner. This gets even worse on Tuesdays, when many places close the entire day.
Harper's Restaurant on the Melaka River
Restaurants in tourist areas come and go, so you can check my travel journal for the latest reviews of Melaka restaurants. However, there are a few places that seem to have stood the test of time and deserve mention: Harpers, set right on the Melaka River, is probably the best place for that special lunch or sunset dinner. The tapas style menu runs from Asia to Continental.
A visit to Melaka would probably be incomplete without sampling one of the local delicacies, Chicken Rice Balls. Based on the Hainan Chicken Rice dish that is popular throughout Southeast Asia, the Melaka variation serves the rice formed into round balls. It's such a well known specialty that there are several places around town offering it to tourists, but the 'authentic' place to sample the real thing is Hoe Kee on Jonker Walk.
Lastly, Geographer Cafe, right in the middle of Jonker Walk, is a good place to have a meal or simply an afternoon coffee. Best of all, it's one of the few places in Chinatown that's open every day from lunch through dinner.
You can of course find all of Malaysia's local food chains in the malls around town.